A Franz Kafka Encyclopedia by Richard T. Gray, Ruth V. Gross, Rolf J. Goebel, Clayton

By Richard T. Gray, Ruth V. Gross, Rolf J. Goebel, Clayton Koelb

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Known for depicting alienation, frustration, and the victimization of the person via impenetrable bureaucracies, Kafka's works have given upward thrust to the time period Kafkaesque. This encyclopedia info Kafka's existence and writings.

Included are greater than 800 alphabetically prepared entries on his works, characters, kinfolk and associates, subject matters, and different themes. many of the entries cite works for additional studying, and the Encyclopedia closes with a particular, basic bibliography.

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The Kafka Encyclopedia has been a long time in the making. The process began in spring 1996, when Greenwood Press approached Richard Gray about authoring an encyclopedia on Kafka for its reference book series. Realizing that this was not a project that could be suitably accomplished by a single author, Gray initially recruited Ruth Gross as coauthor. Under consultation with her, Gray compiled the original list of entries to be included in the Encyclopedia. Because of extensive professional and administrative commitments by the two original authors, progress on the book moved slowly for the first several years, and the decision was eventually made to invite others to become part of an author collective.

One reason for this uniqueness is the special interpretive challenge Kafka's texts present to their readers: although his novels and stories are written in a lucid prose that appears on the surface to be simple and straightforward, this stylistic facade conceals thoughts so complex and structures so convoluted as to defy immediate understanding. The result is that Kafka has become one of the most frequently read and yet one of the most bewildering of all twentiethcentury writers. One reason for Kafka's popularity is the very readability of his prose—as opposed, for example, to that of James Joyce, a modernist writer with whom he is often compared.

Since we anticipate that readers of the Encyclopedia will primarily, but not exclusively, be readers of English, we have tended to privilege secondary works written in English. However, important scholarly works composed in German are also included, especially when, as is sometimes the case, no substantial scholarship on a given text has appeared in English. To facilitate use of the Encyclopedia, we have provided various alternative tables of contents that group the entries according to several of the broad categories outlined above.

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